Emerald’s new Spanish teacher, Josh Walters, offered an engaging introduction to his particular methods during the opening week of classes. He strives to present high-level thinking within personalized, informal, and real-world applications. His students are made to feel increasingly competent and comfortable not only learning the language, but using it. The 7-8 class was almost completely immersive within the first few days, a tendency that will increase as the term progresses and develop by increments within the younger grades. Josh front-loaded the Camp Robbers’ early lesson by first having students fill out brief surveys, in Spanish, offering glimpses at their personal likes and dislikes. The surveys then became fuel for discussion, wherein the larger class guessed at the subject in question, in Spanish, while Josh offered clarification and expansion of context. For example, he began, “Esta persona le gusta esquiar.” However, since some nine or more students in the class enjoy skiing (as Josh assumed), the condition needed further detail. He added, “a esta persona tambien problemente le gusta el lacrosse. Usa tus ojos.” Students then looked around the room to notice that one student was wearing a lacrosse sweatshirt, which quickly narrowed the options. Then, when she admitted that she had actually “stolen the sweatshirt de me hermana” Josh helped her to complete the entire expression in Spanish, informing the larger class of the word ‘robar’ and its conjugations. The lively discussion kept the students calculating their peers’ interests, and they strove to speak accurately, beyond memorization and recitation, for the sake of articulating their own ideas. In addition to being observant and thinking in Spanish terms, Josh emphasized the importance of avoiding false cognates, which led to constructive comedy (’embarazada’ does not translate to ’embarassed,’ for example.). The class period ended with the first round of a tournament bracket consisting of various activities. Students needed to pick a side of the room — “Una or el otro; no en el medio” — and thereby align themselves with one activity over the other. ‘Buceo’ fue victorioso sobre ‘Minecraft,’ por ejemplo, ‘esquiar’ sobre ‘beisbol,’ y ‘bailar’ sobre ‘caza.’ Round two will occur this week.